An ALDI commercial featuring a woman doing stunts on a shopping trolley in a car park has been cleared by Advertising Standards Board (ASB) despite numerous complaints that it promoted dangerous behaviour, particularly to children.
The ad, by Sydney agency BMF, first appeared in March and sees a woman dancing around and mounting the trolley in a series of stunts before retrieving her $2 coin while a voiceover says: “Australia’s most satisfied customers three years in a row, even though you need a coin for your trolley”.
The ASB reportedly received “a significant number of complaints” about the ad, primarily from mothers who believed the ad promoted dangerous behaviour and thus contravened section 2.6 of the advertising industry code of ethics which relates to showing unsafe behaviours in TVCs.
One complainant wrote: “This is an extremely dangerous practise and therefore should be discouraged in every way. Customers are warned not to put young children in shopping trolleys and this advertisement only makes a mockery of this request.”
While another said: “I find the ad has a woman doing dangerous stunts on a trolley. As a mother of an 11 year old son I find this incredibly irresponsible. I have sat with my son and explained the very dangerous content in this ad. My concern is for the safety of young people attempting these stunts.”
However, ALDI dismissed claims the ad could entice copycat behaviour and said the ad was clearly satire and fantasy.
In its defence, the grocer said: “The woman is seen gliding through the carpark while lying across the handle of the trolley. She is also seen gliding while crouched on the back of the trolley with one arm outstretched.
“The fact that the stunts could not physically be performed by a child (or any other person) in an everyday situation emphasises that there is no real prospect of viewers of the advertisement being encouraged to copy the stunts.”
The ad also includes a disclaimer that states the ad was filmed in a “safe and controlled” environment.
Dismissing the complaints, the ASB said the advertisement “did depict behaviour that may be copied by young children and is unsafe.
“The exaggerated nature of the advertisement and the overall look and tone was clearly one of fantasy and was not considered to be realistic in any way.
“The Board noted that the woman was not shown to be thrilled or excited by her own actions but rather in a trance-like state which lessened the impact of the stunts she was performing.
“The Board acknowledged the safety concerns about riding on trolleys but considered in this instance, the advertisement was highly stylised and was not encouraging or condoning this behaviour and did not depict material contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety and did not breach Section 2.6 of the Code.”